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Comparing the Performance of Bread and Breakfast Cereals, Dairy, and Meat in Nutritionally Balanced and Sustainable Diets

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Objective: To quantify the performance of food products in a sustainable diet based on the balance of their contribution to nutrient intake and environmental impact, within the context of the Dutch diet. Design: While fixing the quantity of a specific food group at different levels, optimized diets that met nutrient requirements and stayed as close as possible to the current Dutch diet were calculated, in order to understand its potential environmental impact and its nutritional quality. Bread & breakfast cereals, dairy, and meat were compared between 0 and 250% of current intake. Their performance is expressed in the relationship between the quantity of these food products and (1) the environmental impact of diets and (2) the nutrient balance of the diets. Setting: The Netherlands. Subjects: Women aged 31–50. Results: The amount of bread & breakfast cereals in the optimized diets were inversely correlated with their environmental impact. The nutrient balance of the optimized diets was maintained despite varying cereal content, with the expected improvement over the current diet. Increasing amounts of dairy in the optimized diet were associated with an increase in environmental impact and meat with a steep increase. The nutrient balance of optimized diets with varying dairy and meat contents was also maintained at high levels, even at 0% content. Conclusions: Bread and breakfast cereals are sources of nutrients with a better environmental performance compared to dairy or meat within the context of the Dutch diet. It is possible to optimize diets for environmental impact whilst maintaining a high nutrient balance.
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ORIGINAL RESEARCH
published: 07 June 2018
doi: 10.3389/fnut.2018.00051
Frontiers in Nutrition | www.frontiersin.org 1June 2018 | Volume 5 | Article 51
Edited by:
Marta Wilton Vasconcelos,
Universidade Católica Portuguesa,
Portugal
Reviewed by:
Hettie Carina Schönfeldt,
University of Pretoria, South Africa
Tânia Gonçalves Albuquerque,
Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor
Ricardo Jorge (INSA), Portugal
Elisabete Pinto,
ESB-UCP, Portugal
*Correspondence:
Marcelo Tyszler
mtyszler@gmail.com
Specialty section:
This article was submitted to
Nutrition and Environmental
Sustainability,
a section of the journal
Frontiers in Nutrition
Received: 25 August 2017
Accepted: 17 May 2018
Published: 07 June 2018
Citation:
Kramer GFH, Martinez EV,
Espinoza-Orias ND, Cooper KA,
Tyszler M and Blonk H (2018)
Comparing the Performance of Bread
and Breakfast Cereals, Dairy, and
Meat in Nutritionally Balanced and
Sustainable Diets. Front. Nutr. 5:51.
doi: 10.3389/fnut.2018.00051
Comparing the Performance of
Bread and Breakfast Cereals, Dairy,
and Meat in Nutritionally Balanced
and Sustainable Diets
Gerard F. H. Kramer 1, Elsa V. Martinez 1, Namy D. Espinoza-Orias 2, Karen A. Cooper 2,
Marcelo Tyszler 1
*and Hans Blonk 1
1Blonk Consultants, Gouda, Netherlands, 2Nestlé Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland
Objective: To quantify the performance of food products in a sustainable diet based on
the balance of their contribution to nutrient intake and environmental impact, within the
context of the Dutch diet.
Design: While fixing the quantity of a specific food group at different levels, optimized
diets that met nutrient requirements and stayed as close as possible to the current Dutch
diet were calculated, in order to understand its potential environmental impact and its
nutritional quality. Bread & breakfast cereals, dairy, and meat were compared between 0
and 250% of current intake. Their performance is expressed in the relationship between
the quantity of these food products and (1) the environmental impact of diets and (2) the
nutrient balance of the diets.
Setting: The Netherlands.
Subjects: Women aged 31–50.
Results: The amount of bread & breakfast cereals in the optimized diets were inversely
correlated with their environmental impact. The nutrient balance of the optimized diets
was maintained despite varying cereal content, with the expected improvement over the
current diet. Increasing amounts of dairy in the optimized diet were associated with an
increase in environmental impact and meat with a steep increase. The nutrient balance of
optimized diets with varying dairy and meat contents was also maintained at high levels,
even at 0% content.
Conclusions: Bread and breakfast cereals are sources of nutrients with a better
environmental performance compared to dairy or meat within the context of the Dutch
diet. It is possible to optimize diets for environmental impact whilst maintaining a high
nutrient balance.
Keywords: sustainable diets, quadratic optimization, nutrient balance, environmental impact, bread, breakfast
cereals, dairy, meat (Drop LCA)
Kramer et al. Food Groups in Sustainable Diets
INTRODUCTION
It is evident that the food system has an important role in global
greenhouse gas emissions (1,2) and the depletion of natural
resources (3). This has led to an increased scientific interest in
the sustainability of diets. It is widely recognized that many diets
need to change to reduce the environmental impact (4,5). How
this can be done, while respecting nutritional quality and local
dietary habits, is the focus of an increasing number of studies
(68). These studies showed that the performance of specific
food products in sustainable diets is determined by the balance
between their nutritional quality and environmental impact.
In particular, for food manufacturing companies, it is
important to know how their current food products contribute to
a sustainable diet and how the performance of new food products
can be optimized. Several metrics have been suggested to capture
this integral performance (9,10) ideally combining a metric
for nutritional quality or nutrient density with environmental
metrics from Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
Methodology in this area is evolving rapidly. We contribute
to this developing research field by presenting a method
that evaluates the balance between nutritional quality and
environmental impact within the context of a total diet. Relative
to the current diet, we show the effects of increasing and
decreasing the intake of a specific food product or food group
on the environmental impact of the total diet. This is done by
optimizing the current diet iso-calorically so that nutritional
requirements are met while holding the amounts of the food
(group) of interest fixed at different levels. Consequently, other
food products in the diet will either be replaced or have their
amounts changed. If an optimized diet with increased amounts
from a food (group) of interest has a lower environmental impact
and a better nutrient profile, the food (group) can be regarded as
a source of nutrients with a better environmental performance
than the food products replaced or changed. We optimize the
diets by minimizing the changes to the current diet (11,12) until
all nutrient requirements are met. We use a current Dutch diet as
starting point and examine the performance of three food groups:
bread and breakfast cereals, dairy, and meat. These three groups
are key food groups in the average Dutch diet and have recently
been subject to question about their role in a sustainable and/or
healthy diet in both scientific and gray literature. Dairy and meat
are typically questioned about their high environmental impact,
even though they are sources of high biological value proteins,
while bread & breakfast cereals have positive recommendation
from public health authorities (13), in contrast with negative
recommendation from popular media (14,15).
The above exercise revealed that bread and breakfast cereals
has the best environmental performance of the three groups,
whilst maintaining a good nutrient balance. The exercise was not
exhaustive and did not compare the performance other groups,
which could be an extension of the present study.
METHODS
Starting from a current diet, the amounts of a food group of
interest were fixed in varying levels in steps of 25% between 0 and
250% of the quantity in the current diet. In each of the 11 steps,
after fixing the amount of the food group of interest, the diet
was iso-calorically optimized. Notice that within the food group
of interest changes are also allowed, as long as the total mass in
grams stays at the set level. In the case of dairy, the current diet
ratio of liquid dairy products to cheese was kept constant at 8.76
g:1 g in order to avoid artificial environmental improvements
by substituting cheese for milk. The exercise resulted in 11
iso-caloric optimized diets satisfying nutritional requirements
and with associated nutritional, environmental, and optimization
metrics.
We detail below the elements of the optimization and metrics
computed.
Current Diet
An average weekly diet (current diet) for Dutch women aged
31–50 was derived from the Dutch National Food Consumption
Survey (DNFCS, 2007–2010) (16,17). The procedure is described
elsewhere (18). The analysis included a database of a total
of 208 food products containing both nutritional composition
(19) and environmental impacts. These are representative for
food products consumed nowadays in the Netherlands (2022),
excluding brands. The list contained a limited number of fortified
products, such as soy drink, meat replacer, and (iodine fortified)
bread. Cereals included were mainstream food products and not
fortified (19).
Environmental Impacts
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology (23) was applied
to calculate the environmental impacts (20,24) [Greenhouse
Gas Emissions (GHGe), Fossil Energy Use (FEU), and Land
Occupation (LO)] associated with each of the 208 food products
and the optimized diets. The source database is of high quality
and been reviewed externally by Centre for Design and Society,
RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, and by the Netherlands
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment
(23). The scope of the LCAs in this study included agricultural
production (in the Netherlands and abroad), transport,
processing, distribution, retail (lighting, cooling), consumer
phase (e.g., cooling and cooking), and waste treatment. The
Carbon Footprint for a selection of products is shown in
Table 1.
Nutrient Balance Concept (NBC)
The NBC (10,25) is a nutrient profiling concept that evaluates
the nutritional values of multiple food products in meals and
total diets. The NBC advances on nutrient density by adding
the metric of nutrient balance (NB) to qualifying (QI) and
disqualifying (DI) indices (25). The QI is defined as the ratio of 28
essential nutrients contained in 2,000 kcal of a given food product
relative to the country reference intakes for those nutrients. The
DI is defined as the ratio of 7 public health sensitive nutrients
contained in 2,000 kcal of a given food product, relative to
the Maximal Reference Values (MRV) for those nutrients. If
the QI value is >1, the food product is considered nutrient
dense; if the QI value is smaller than 1, the food product is
considered energy dense. If the DI value is >1, the food product is
Frontiers in Nutrition | www.frontiersin.org 2June 2018 | Volume 5 | Article 51
Kramer et al. Food Groups in Sustainable Diets
TABLE 1 | Carbon Footprint of a selection of products available in the diet.
Product GHGe
(kg CO2-eq/kg)
Beef 46.7
Cheese, Gouda 9.2
Pork 7.7
Chicken 5.1
Salmon 3.9
Egg 3.3
Herring 2.0
Tomato 1.7
Cashew nuts 1.6
Milk, semi-skimmed 1.2
Crispbread 1.0
Bread, white 1.0
Bread, rye 0.9
Bread, wholemeal 0.9
Carrots 0.7
Potatoes 0.7
Cereal, wholegrain 0.7
Apple 0.5
These results were calculated by the authors for the purposes of this article.
deemed compromised because it contains disqualifying nutrients
in values higher than the MRV relative to the energy content
of the food product. Finally, the NB score is calculated as
the average proportion of daily values for qualifying nutrients
(QI) present in 2,000 kcal of a given food, truncated at 1 for
each qualifying nutrient. A NB score of 100% is achieved if
every qualifying nutrient satisfies 100% or more of its daily
requirement. Table 2 summarizes the calculations of QI, DI, and
NB.
To compute NBC metrics comparable with previous NBC
studies, the 208 food products in these diets were matched with
an equivalent food from the USDA Food Composition Database
(Release 28).
Diet Optimization
The Optimeal R
software (Blonk Consultants, Gouda, The
Netherlands) was used to compute the diets most similar
to the current diet and simultaneously satisfying the set of
specified nutritional requirements. This is known as quadratic
programming. As described previously (18,26), the Optimeal R
software contains all required data on food composition (19),
nutrient requirements (27,28), and environmental impacts of
food products consumed in the Netherlands.
In the model, the nutritional requirements are: (a) the Dutch
(27) Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Adequate
Intake (AI) (when an RDA cannot be determined), defined as
lower limits; and (b) the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL),
defined as upper limit (see Supplementary Table S1). The sugar
limit used in the NBC metrics was taken from the Institute of
Medicine (29) as no formal recommendation on total sugars is
provided in the Netherlands, only on total carbohydrates. To
avoid confounding effects, all diets were iso-caloric with 1,995
kcal per day.
The similarity of two diets can be measured by the Euclidian
distance (ED) between them, i.e., by the square root of the
sum of the square differences (in grams) of the amounts of
each food product in the two diets. The Euclidian distance is
the generalization of the shortest path between two points. It
is assumed that a similar diet is easier to adopt by consumers
than one that is more deviating from their current diet. At a
population level, shifts in consumption of food products are
relatively gradual.
RESULTS
The results of the assessment of the three food groups are
shown graphically in Figure 1. The slopes in the graphs with
environmental impacts are indicative of the environmental
performance of a food group as a source of nutrients. Figure 2
shows the NB, QI, and DI of the optimized diets, being indicative
of the nutrient balance.
Overall, increased amounts of meat products were associated
with higher environmental impacts. Relative to the current diet,
GHGe, FEU, and LO increased 49, 21, and 53%, respectively at the
250% level. In contrast, when the content of meat in an optimized
diet was reduced, the environmental impacts decreased rapidly
and attained the lowest values observed in this study. The NB
score ranged from 94.5 to 97.1 with the meat content variation.
Notably, the best NB score was achieved with the 0% meat
level. At this level, the optimized diets also had the lowest DI
and highest QI, suggesting a potentially positive balance can
be achieved through dietary optimization after removal of meat
products from the diets.
The optimized diet with 250% level of current dietary dairy
resulted in an increase of 16% in GHGe and 13% in FEU
relative to the current diet, but in a 9% reduction of LO.
The latter coincides with a shift in the type of land use from
cropland to pasture, which, in general, is associated with a lower
environmental impact. The NB score also varied from 94.8 to
96.6. The optimized diet with 0% dairy also had the highest QI
overall, and the lowest DI from the dairy-optimized diets.
The results show that bread and breakfast cereals had the
lowest impact when its amounts were increased. The optimized
diet with 250% level of the current level of bread and breakfast
cereals reduced 14% in GHGe, 12% in FEU, and 15% in LO,
compared to the current diet. In contrast, decreasing bread
and breakfast cereals resulted in the highest environmental
impact compared to the other two food groups studied. Overall,
the amounts of bread and breakfast cereals were inversely
correlated with the levels of GHGe and FEU. Both increased
and decreased amounts of bread and breakfast cereals were
associated with lower levels of LO. The NB score varied from
94.9 to 96.0, QI varied from 1.5 to 1.7 and DI from 1 to 1.1,
indicating a small positive relationship between the amounts
of bread and breakfast cereals and the nutrient balance of the
diet.
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Kramer et al. Food Groups in Sustainable Diets
TABLE 2 | Calculation of QI, DI, and NB (25).
Equations Description Nutrients considered
QI =Ed
Ep·
PNq
j=1
aq,j
rq,j
NqEd=daily energy need (kcal)
Ep=energy in the qtty. of food analyzed (kcal)
aq,j =qtty. of qualifying nutrient (g)
ad,j =qtty. of disqualifying nutrient (g)
rq,j =DRI of qualifying nutrient (g/day)
rd,j =MRV of disqualifying nutrient (g/day)
Nq=Number of qualifying nutrients evaluated
Nd=Number of disqualifying nutrients
evaluated
QI =Qualifying index
DI =Disqualifying index
NB =Qualifying nutrient balance score
For QI:
folate; niacin; panthotenic acid; riboflavin;
thiamin; vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, K;
Ca, Cu, F, Fe, Mg, Mn, K, P, Se, Zn;
α-linolenic acid; linolenic acid; choline;
dietary fiber; protein; water.
For DI:
total fat; saturated fat; cholesterol; trans
fatty acids; total sugars; Na; alcohol.
DI =Ed
Ep·
PNd
j=1
ad,j
rd,j
Nd
NB =100 ·PNq
i=1QIi
Nq
Since bread and breakfast cereal was the food group with
better performance, we investigated it in more detail. Table 3
shows the changes in the most important food groups in the
11 optimized diets with varying amounts of bread and breakfast
cereals. Among the nutrients in bread and breakfast cereals that
have to be replaced at 0% (see Supplementary Table S1) are total
energy, iodine, fiber, and vitamin B1. This explains increased
amounts of fish (iodine), legumes (energy, fiber, B1), pasta/rice
(energy, B1), and vegetables (fiber, B1).
It is also relevant to understand the changes within the food
group. Table 4 presents the ratio of wholegrain to other varieties
of bread and breakfast cereals. In the current diet the ratio was
0.69. Absolute amounts of both wholegrain and other varieties
increase as the total amount of bread and breakfast cereals
increase. The ratio of wholegrain to other varieties, however,
decreases.
DISCUSSION
The relative order in performance of meat, dairy and bread
and breakfast cereals obtained can be explained by the
balance between nutritional performance and environmental
performance. In particular, wholegrain cereal products combine
a high nutrient balance (25) score with a low environmental
impact, whereas meat combines a medium nutrient balance
score with a high environmental impact (30). It is important
to realize, however, that bread is an iodine fortified product.
Dairy has an intermediate position in both metrics (nutritional
and environmental performance), which is in agreement with
previous studies (6,31). This observation can also be explained
by the fact that cheese and liquid dairy were introduced in a fixed
ratio.
The NB scores vary minimally with changes in cereals content,
due to the fact that all the optimized diets were high scoring, i.e.,
above 90%, and so in order to facilitate an increase, the changes
in cereals and resultant overall optimized diets would need to
address the small undersupply of just a few nutrients, which
in this case were fiber, choline, vitamin E, and vitamin D. It is
possible that if the wholegrain content of the optimized diets had
been increased at the same rate as total cereals, some of these
shortfall nutrients might have been met (fiber, vitamin E, iron).
Interestingly, iron was undersupplied in the optimized diets with
<150% of current intake of bread and breakfast cereals. However,
in all the optimized diets, fat and sugar were oversupplied. The
fact that the NB score of the optimized diets was always very high
(circa 94–95%), is not surprising, as they are all optimized to meet
Dutch nutrient recommendations.
NB scores were also calculated for exemplar foods from each
of the three food groups of interest (Figure 3). Results show that
whole wheat bread and low-fat milk had a higher NB score,
and Gouda cheese and beef a lower NB score. Differences in
contents of dietary fiber, saturated fat and salt explain most
of the differences, for instance between white bread and whole
wheat bread. The different types of meat, beef in particular,
performed worse than both types of bread. As for dairy, low-fat
milk performed much better than Gouda cheese.
Even though all optimized diets are plausible in the sense
that they satisfy all nutritional requirements and are as close as
possible to the current diet, attainability is a question. In earlier
studies (18,26) with the Optimeal R
tool, Linear Programming
was applied, i.e., the distance between two diets was measured
by a linear transformation, the sum of the absolute differences
of the normalized amounts. The disadvantage of that technique
is that it tends to prefer large shifts in a limited number of food
products in the diet, for instance by adding large quantities of
legumes (18). This seems unrealistic at population level, as shifts
in national diets tend to be gradual. By minimizing the Euclidian
Distance, large shifts in a single food are more heavily penalized,
resulting in more realistic solutions.
Moreover, the proposed method provides insight in the
attainability of changes, by investigating distance between diets.
This analysis shows that meat seems to be replaced more easily
than bread and breakfast cereals and dairy. As mentioned already,
bread is an iodine fortified product. Studying the effects of
(iodine) fortification was out of scope and is a limitation of this
study. Replacement of dairy is more difficult to attain since these
products are nutrient dense and it would require more additional
food products to be included in the optimized diet to provide the
missing nutrients such as calcium and vitamins B2 and B12. In
most cases these alternative products are not as nutrient dense as
dairy. This reinforces the advice that a varied diet is the best way
to achieve adequate nutrient intake.
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Kramer et al. Food Groups in Sustainable Diets
FIGURE 1 | Environmental Indicators with varying amounts of dairy, meat and bread and breakfast cereals, relative to the current intake of each (100%). (A) Carbon
footprint. (B) Fossil energy use. (C) Land occupation. These results were calculated by the authors for the purposes of this article.
Frontiers in Nutrition | www.frontiersin.org 5June 2018 | Volume 5 | Article 51
Kramer et al. Food Groups in Sustainable Diets
FIGURE 2 | QI, DI, and NB (shown in the blue circles) for the optimized diets. (A) Bread and breakfast cereals. (B) Meat. (C) Dairy. These results were calculated by
the authors for the purposes of this article.
This study is limited by the environmental data. Only
GHGe, EU, and LO were analyzed, ignoring other environmental
impacts. For example, the reduction of LO at lower levels of
bread and breakfast cereals can be explained by the replacement
of bread and breakfast cereals by fish, which is one of the few
other food sources of iodine. Wild-caught fish has no LO, but
is associated with other specific environmental impacts such as
marine resource depletion (32), which was not included here.
In general, the effects and interactions of general shifts on
bioavailability is a limitation of this study.
Moreover, the life cycle inventories used affect the results
obtained. Nutrient quality, if understood as the losses of nutrient
quality along the life cycle of a food product or due to storage
and preparation methods, is addressed as follows: as closely as
possible, the data picked from food tables for each food item
represented the food item as it was described in the Dutch diet.
For example, if an item was mentioned as “raw vegetable,” then its
nutritional composition was taken as such. On the other hand, if a
food item was described as “cooked vegetable,” then the food item
was chosen as cooked. The purpose of this assessment was not to
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Kramer et al. Food Groups in Sustainable Diets
TABLE 3 | Shifts in food groups for different percentages of bread and breakfast cereals (women 31–50 years) relative to current intake (=100%).
Food Group [g/day] Starting diet 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% 125% 150% 175% 200% 225% 250%
Bread and Breakfast Cereals 141a0 35 70 106 141 176 211 245 282 317 352b
Cheese 37 17 18 20 21 22 21 21 22 22 22 21
Eggs 11 16 14 13 13 12 12 13 13 14 14 14
Fish 17 92 73 52 36 28 28 27 27 27 27 29
Fruits 120 175 167 160 152 145 139 133 126 118 109 102
Legumes 4 68 61 54 46 39 33 28 22 16 9 7
Meat 88 69 74 79 85 86 86 85 84 82 76 59
Dairy 328 335 328 321 317 312 311 310 309 307 302 296
Pasta/Rice 52 60 58 56 55 53 52 51 49 46 43 39
Vegetables 134 381 352 329 299 274 254 237 222 206 191 196
a141 g consists of 0.6 tablespoons of cereals, 0.4 slices of crispbread, and 3.5 slices of bread.
b352 g consists of 8.4 tablespoons of cereals, 4.7 slices of crispbread, and 6.5 slices of bread.
These results were calculated by the authors for the purposes of this article.
TABLE 4 | Ratio of wholegrain to refined with different amounts of Bread and
breakfast cereals.
Diet Wholegrain (g) Refined (g) Ratio Wholegrain:refined
Starting diet 57 83 0.69
0% 0 0 0.00
25% 24 12 2.04
50% 39 31 1.26
100% 80 61 1.31
150% 112 99 1.12
200% 138 144 0.96
250% 168 184 0.92
These results were calculated by the authors for the purposes of this article.
capture the losses of nutrient quality. Assessing the nutritional
composition of food items will always be dependent on data
availability in food tables, unless the study actually measures this.
Similarly, as environmental impacts of food products are
dependent on country of origin and production system, they are
highly variable, which could be a barrier for the extension of this
method to other countries. Variability in the results also depends
on the methodology used to develop the life cycle inventories.
Valuable work is taking place globally among concerned
stakeholders (academia, researchers in public and private
organizations, agricultural producers, food manufacturers and
regulators, to name a few) to harmonize as much as possible
those methodologies and to incorporate pragmatically significant
developments in environmental science, environmental impact
modeling, and big data acquisition and management. All these
factors contribute to rapid changes in how the environmental
impacts of food products are assessed, understood, and
communicated.
Finally, the choices made by the optimization algorithm are
only an approximation of actual behavior and the attainability of
replacement options.
CONCLUSIONS
We present an innovative method to compare the performance
of food groups in a diet: fixing the amounts of a selected food
FIGURE 3 | Exemplar products to demonstrate relative positions and scores
from the Nutrient Balance Concept analyses. The NB scores per product are
shown in the blue circles. These results were calculated by the authors for the
purposes of this article.
group at different levels and optimizing the remaining diet
so that nutritional requirements are met and the changes to
the initial diet are minimized. For a set of optimizations we
compute environmental (CF, EU, LO) and nutritional metrics
(NB). The method is flexible in the number of included nutrient
requirements and environmental impacts.
In this paper we compared bread and breakfast cereals, meat,
and dairy. Performance of other food groups could be done as an
extension of the present study.
The analysis suggested that bread and breakfast cereals are
sources of nutrients with a better environmental performance
compared to dairy or meat within the context of the Dutch
diet. More specifically, amounts of bread and breakfast cereals
have an inverse correlation with the environmental impact of the
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Kramer et al. Food Groups in Sustainable Diets
optimized diet. This indicates that they are a source of nutrients
with a better environmental performance relative to other foods
in the diet. When overall bread and breakfast cereal intake is
low in the optimized diet, wholegrain cereal products are the
preferred choice due to their nutritional performance.
AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS
GK was the lead researcher in the study, computing, and
analyzing the results. EM provided scientific and technical
support in the calculations and optimization. NE-O and KC
led the application of the Nutrient Balance Concept and
its interpretation. MT developed the original optimization
algorithm and led the writing and organizing of the final
manuscript for scientific publication. HB conceptualized the
study and led the Environmental Impact analyzes. All authors
were involved in the different drafts and revisions of the article.
FUNDING
This study was funded by members of the HealthGrain
Forum: Nestlé, Cereal Partners Worldwide, Fazer, and GoodMills
Innovation.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We thank Jan-Willem van der Kamp (TNO, The
Netherlands) for inspiring this study and organizing the
funds.
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL
The Supplementary Material for this article can be found
online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2018.
00051/full#supplementary-material
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Conflict of Interest Statement: NE-O and KC were employed by Nestlé Research
Center.
The remaining authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of
any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential
conflict of interest.
This study was partially funded by the Healthgrain Forum, an association,
based in Europe, of universities, institutes and industries interested in grain and
grain based products. The HGF was not involved in the writing of the article and
supported the scientific approach regardless of the results.
Copyright © 2018 Kramer, Martinez, Espinoza-Orias, Cooper, Tyszler and Blonk.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums
is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited
and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted
academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not
comply with these terms.
Frontiers in Nutrition | www.frontiersin.org 9June 2018 | Volume 5 | Article 51
... One of these diet optimization techniques include the use of the Optimeal Software [26], which was previously used to integrate wider issues of sustainability. Such issues include identifying diets that do not exceed global GHG emission targets, showing the environmental performance of different foods, and recognizing affordable dietary options that alleviate environmental impact without posing nutritional challenges [27][28][29][30][31]. However, there remains a gap in the scientific literature on the use of diet optimization techniques in low to middle income countries, such as Lebanon, that are undergoing heightened environmental and economic constraints along with other pressing nutrition and health-related challenges. ...
... This method of optimization was previously used for deriving an optimized sustainable diet for Lebanese adults [37]. It was also adopted by different authors in multiple diet comparison/optimization studies included in our literature [24,[27][28][29][30][31]]. ...
... To our knowledge, this study is the first to derive an optimally healthy and sustainable diet for Lebanese children that takes into consideration health, economic and environmental constraints and parameters while also devising culturally acceptable and contextually specific foods. Another strength of the study is the use of Optimeal, a diet optimization software that uses advanced mathematical techniques to derive diets based on complex parameters, and that has been validated and applied to date in several contexts [24,[27][28][29][30][31]. Additional strengths include the use of the most recent 2015 dietary data, which present the actual national diet in Lebanon, as well as the use of 24 h dietary recalls, using the USDA multiple pass five-step approach, which was shown to reduce bias in nutrient and energy intake collection [61,62]. ...
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Achieving sustainable, healthy diets remains a global challenge to meet the sustainable development agenda by 2030. The purpose of this study is to derive optimal dietary recommendations for children that consider nutritional, environmental, and economic parameters of sustainability, using Lebanon as a case study. Data from the latest national food consumption survey conducted among Lebanese children were used. Optimized diets were derived using Optimeal, a software that produces similar patterns to the usual diet while considering nutrition constraints (energy, and macro/micronutrient needs), environmental footprints ((EFPs): water use, energy use, and greenhouse emissions), and cost. Three optimized diets were derived that meet the nutritional needs of children aged 4–8, 9–13, and 14–18 years, while considering EFPs and cost. Compared to the usual intake, optimized diets included higher intake of vegetables, legumes and dairy, and a decrease in saturated oils, processed meats, sugar, salty snacks, sweets, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Overall, the optimized diets decreased cost by 20% and reduced water use, energy use, and GHG emissions, by 20%, 11%, and 22%, respectively. The proposed models consider various constraints and provide sustainable solutions for decision makers within a country undergoing crises.
... Although high-level discussion of healthy sustainable diets in the literature implies nutrient adequacy (2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7), the large number of nutrients essential for health make inclusion of all these nutrients in food system models challenging (1). As a result, some studies consider energy or protein only (15)(16)(17)(18), some utilize calculated nutrient metrics (19)(20)(21)(22)(23), whereas others include a large number of individual nutrients (24)(25)(26)(27). Part of the difficulty in assessing nutrient adequacy is in obtaining data for the nutrient content of foods and intake requirements. ...
... The inputs and outputs of the model are for the global food system, considering the ways in which the world can feed the world. Much research exists on the environmental, economic, and health sustainability of food from an individual dietary perspective (15,22,25,44,47,50,53,54,(60)(61)(62). Individuals, particularly in developed regions, have broad choices in achieving nutrient adequate diets. ...
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... In terms of carbon footprint, the current analysis estimated that greenhouse gas emissions of the analyzed products fall in the range of 67-100 g CO 2 -eq for every 30 g portion after reformulation. Previous studies that followed a similar methodology and carried out a full LCA analysis (bar end of life analysis) indicate that greenhouse gas emissions for cereal products fall in the range of 80-117 g CO 2 -eq, with exception of two studies that indicated much lower emissions 21-30 g CO 2 -eq, potentially due to the studies' limited scope (studying specific aspects of the cereal product production or use of different life cycle inventory (LCI) databases) [11,[49][50][51][52]. As with all LCA analyses, the results of this study should be treated with caution, as they are relevant to the specific products and the regions they are produced. ...
... As such, these analyses provide with valuable insights in the options to improve a product's environmental impact. Along those lines, our findings are in agreement with previous studies that identified similar hotspots and changes in the same range for similar indicators [11,[49][50][51][52]. ...
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The global food system faces a dual challenge for the decades ahead: to (re)formulate foods capable to feed a growing population while reducing their environmental footprint. In this analysis, nutritional composition, recipe, and sourcing data were analyzed alongside five environmental indicators: climate change (CC), freshwater consumption scarcity (FWCS), abiotic resource depletion (ARD), land use impacts on biodiversity (LUIB), and impacts on ecosphere/ecosystems quality (IEEQ) to assess improvement after three reformulation cycles (2003, 2010, 2018) in three extruded breakfast cereals. A life cycle assessment (LCA) was performed using life cycle inventory (LCI) composed by both primary data from the manufacturer and secondary data from usual third-party LCI datasets. Reformulation led to improved nutritional quality for all three products. In terms of environmental impact, improvements were observed for the CC, ARD, and IEEQ indicators, with average reductions of 12%, 14%, and 2% between 2003 and 2018, respectively. Conversely, the FWCS and LUIB indicators were increased by 57% and 70%, respectively. For all indicators but ARD, ingredients contributed most to the environmental impact. This study highlights the need for further focus on the selection of less demanding ingredients and improvements in agricultural practices in order to achieve environmental and nutritional improvements.
... The DD (Diet Departure) criterion is used to minimize deviation from the observed diet in order to account for dietary inertia [44]. The DD criterion was expressed and minimized as follows: ...
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... 11 They produce a low environmental footprint compared with the production systems for many animal-based raw materials, and the production of affordable products that can be used in many different local contexts. [12][13][14] The health effects of cereal foods depend on the type of product. The intake of whole-grain cereal foods is consistently associated with health benefits at the population level, and increased consumption is therefore warranted and advocated in official dietary guidelines in many countries. ...
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Cereal grains are the main dietary source of energy, carbohydrates, and plant proteins world-wide. Currently, only 41% of grains are used for human consumption, and up to 35% are used for animal feed. Cereals have been overlooked as a source of environmentally sustainable and healthy plant proteins and could play a major role in transitioning towards a more sustainable food system for healthy diets. Cereal plant proteins are of good nutritional quality, but lysine is often the limiting amino acid. When consumed as whole grains, cereals provide health-protecting components such as dietary fiber and phytochemicals. Shifting grain use from feed to traditional foods and conceptually new foods and ingredients could improve protein security and alleviate climate change. Rapid development of new grain-based food ingredients and use of grains in new food contexts, such as dairy replacements and meat analogues, could accelerate the transition. This review discusses recent developments and outlines future perspectives for cereal grain use.
... The Sustainability Nutrition Balance (SNB) was used to evaluate the balance of relevant nutrients and environmental impact (Kramer et al., 2018). A product that provides nutrients which improve the quality of the current diet with a low sustainability impact will have a better SNB-score than a product that contains nutrients that we tend to consume in excess (like salt or saturated fat) and/or with a high sustainability impact (Tyszler et al., 2016). ...
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Os Programas de Pós-Graduação em Ciência, Tecnologia e Sociedade (PPGCTS) e Ciência da Informação (PPGCI) da UFSCar promoveram a segunda edição do Seminário Informação, Inovação e Sociedade (II SIIS), realizado de modo virtual, no dia 19 de outubro de 2020, em consonância com a 17a Semana Nacional da Ciência e Tecnologia, promovida pelo MCTIC, com o tema “Inteligência Artificial: a nova fronteira da ciência brasileira”. O II SIIS teve como tema central “Inteligência Artificial: diálogos a partir da Informação, Inovação e Sociedade”, configurando-se como principal espaço de divulgação e de articulação da produção científica desenvolvida ao longo das investigações que dizem respeito ao conhecimento, à tecnologia e à inovação em âmbitos nacional e internacional, a partir do olhar das áreas de Ciência da Informação (CI) e Ciência, Tecnologia e Sociedade (CTS), como um amplo campo de estudo das relações entre a informação e os aspectos evolutivos da tecnologia, na promoção da inovação e seu impacto nos diversos segmentos da sociedade contemporânea. O evento promoveu 3 palestras e contou com 62 trabalhos apresentados remotamente, distribuídos em seis sessões temáticas, coordenados e mediados pelos organizadores do evento. Participaram com apresentação de trabalhos, mestres, doutores e pós-doutores, oriundos de diferentes áreas do conhecimento e vinculados a diferentes instituições nacionais e internacionais. As palestras promovidas durante o evento foram: “Qual o impacto da Inteligência Artificial e dos dados (abertos e conectados) na Educação?” Prof. Dr. Seiji Isotani (Professor Titular na área de Computação e Tecnologias Educacionais junto ao Instituto de Ciências Matemáticas e de Computação da Universidade de São Paulo (ICMC-USP-São Carlos).“Por que não dá para deixar tudo nas mãos dos algoritmos?" Dr. Francisco Camargo (Pós-Doutorando na Oxford Internet Institute da University of Oxford - Reino Unido). “A Qualidade dos Dados em Tempos de Inteligência Artificial e Big Data” Prof. Dr. Dalton Lopes Martins (Professor no curso de Biblioteconomia e do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciência da Informação PPGCinf da Faculdade de Ciência da Informação (FCI) na Universidade de Brasília (UnB) e no Programa de Pós-Graduação em Comunicação PPGCOM (Mestrado) da Faculdade de Informação e Comunicação da Universidade Federal de Goiás. Os resumos dos trabalhos apresentados no II SIIS, passaram por avaliação de Comitê Científico e compõe esta publicação.
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Background Dairy products are important in a healthy diet due to their high nutritional value; they are, however, associated with relatively large greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) per kg product. When discussing the need to reduce the GHGE caused by the food system, it is crucial to consider the nutritional value of alternative food choices. Objective The objective of this study was to elucidate the role of dairy products in overall nutrition and to clarify the effects of dietary choices on GHGE, and to combine nutritional value and GHGE data. Methods We created eight dietary scenarios with different quantity of dairy products using data from the Danish National Dietary Survey (1995–2006). Nutrient composition and GHGE data for 71 highly consumed foods were used to estimate GHGE and nutritional status for each dietary scenario. An index was used to estimate nutrient density in relation to nutritional recommendation and climate impact for solid food items; high index values were those with the highest nutrient density scores in relation to the GHGE. Results The high-dairy scenario resulted in 27% higher protein, 13% higher vitamin D; 55% higher calcium; 48% higher riboflavin; and 18% higher selenium than the non-dairy scenario. There was a significant correlation between changes in calcium and changes in vitamin D, selenium, and riboflavin content (P=0.0001) throughout all of the diets. The estimated GHGE for the dietary scenario with average-dairy consumption was 4,631 g CO2e/day. Conclusions When optimizing a diet with regard to sustainability, it is crucial to account for the nutritional value and not solely focus on impact per kg product. Excluding dairy products from the diet does not necessarily mitigate climate change but in contrast may have nutritional consequences.
Book
Responding to the expansion of scientific knowledge about the roles of nutrients in human health, the Institute of Medicine has developed a new approach to establish Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) and other nutrient reference values. The new title for these values Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), is the inclusive name being given to this new approach. These are quantitative estimates of nutrient intakes applicable to healthy individuals in the United States and Canada. This new book is part of a series of books presenting dietary reference values for the intakes of nutrients. It establishes recommendations for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids. This book presents new approaches and findings which include the following: The establishment of Estimated Energy Requirements at four levels of energy expenditure Recommendations for levels of physical activity to decrease risk of chronic disease The establishment of RDAs for dietary carbohydrate and protein The development of the definitions of Dietary Fiber, Functional Fiber, and Total Fiber The establishment of Adequate Intakes (AI) for Total Fiber The establishment of AIs for linolenic and a-linolenic acids Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges as a percent of energy intake for fat, carbohydrate, linolenic and a-linolenic acids, and protein Research recommendations for information needed to advance understanding of macronutrient requirements and the adverse effects associated with intake of higher amounts Also detailed are recommendations for both physical activity and energy expenditure to maintain health and decrease the risk of disease. © 2002/2005 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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Global food production is identified as a great threat to the environment. In combination with technical advances in agriculture, dietary change is suggested to be necessary to reduce the environmental impact of the food system. In this article a systematic review assessing the environmental impact of dietary change is performed. The aims are to i) evaluate the scientific basis of dietary scenario analysis, ii) estimate the potential environmental effects of dietary change, iii) identify methodological aspects of importance for outcome and iv) identify current gaps in knowledge. The review includes 14 peer-reviewed journal articles assessing the GHG emissions and land use demand of in total 49 dietary scenarios. The results suggest that dietary change, in areas with affluent diet, could play an important role in reaching environmental goals, with up to 50% potential to reduce GHG emissions and land use demand associated with the current diet. The choice of functional unit, system boundaries and methods for scenario development and accounting for uncertainties are methodological aspects identified to have major influence on the quality and results of dietary scenario analysis. Further understanding of dietary change as a measure for more sustainable food systems requires improved knowledge of uncertainty in dietary scenario studies, environmental impact from substitutes and complements to meat and the effect of dietary change in different groups of populations and geographical locations.
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Purpose In this article, we present an innovative way of deriving comparable functional systems for comparative life cycle assessments (LCAs) of food products. We define the functional unit as the contribution of one or more foods to the nutrient composition of a weekly diet and, after a product substitution, employ a product system expansion approach to search for an alternative set of products which provides an equivalent nutritional composition. Methods Replacement is regarded within the context of a weekly diet. The comparable diet is a solution to a linear problem which finds the diet that is most similar to the starting one, subject to nutritional and/or other constraints that guarantee a minimum dietary quality. The formulation gives priority to selecting food products according to popularity. Results We illustrate our method with two examples. We show that a baseline diet containing 3.6 servings of apples a week is equivalent to a similar diet in which the apples are replaced with 3.6 servings of oranges and servings of strawberry and kiwi are removed. These changes are necessary mainly because of differences in the vitamin C content between apples and oranges. The second example is a replacement of all meat in a weekly diet by a soy-based meat substitute. In this case, additional fish products need to be consumed to make up for a lack of selenium and essential amino acids. Conclusions We present an innovative and objective way to overcome the challenge of comparing two or more food products in a comparative LCA. Our approach is systematic and finds the alternative diet that best meets the nutritional criteria as well as reflecting the food preferences of the population. The method selects products according to the role they play in the dietary pattern. Moreover, the method is flexible enough to allow for different selection criteria and other nutritional and non-nutritional constraints.
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Purpose Overfishing is a relevant issue to include in all life cycle assessments (LCAs) involving wild caught fish, as overfishing of fish stocks clearly targets the LCA safeguard objects of natural resources and natural ecosystems. Yet no robust method for assessing overfishing has been available. We propose lost potential yield (LPY) as a midpoint impact category to quantify overfishing, comparing the outcome of current with target fisheries management. This category primarily reflects the impact on biotic resource availability, but also serves as a proxy for ecosystem impacts within each stock. Methods LPY represents average lost catches owing to ongoing overfishing, assessed by simplified biomass projections covering different fishing mortality scenarios. It is based on the maximum sustainable yield concept and complemented by two alternative methods, overfishing though fishing mortality (OF) and overfishedness of biomass (OB), that are less data-demanding. Results and discussion Characterization factors are provided for 31 European commercial fish stocks in 2010, representing 74 % of European and 7 % of global landings. However, large spatial and temporal variations were observed, requiring novel approaches for the LCA practitioner. The methodology is considered compliant with the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) standard in most relevant aspects, although harmonization through normalization and endpoint characterization is only briefly discussed. Conclusions Seafood LCAs including any of the three approaches can be a powerful communicative tool for the food industry, seafood certification programmes, and for fisheries management.